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History & Mission

Girl Powered Since 1772

History & Mission - Dawn at Salem Academy

Salem Academy and College is the oldest educational institution for girls and women in the United States. Founded in 1772 (four years before the Declaration of Independence was signed!) its Moravian founders believed that girls and women were entitled to the same education as boys and men.

Ever since, Salem has kept true to its mission while evolving with the times to serve the changing needs of girls and women in our society.

Our Mission, Our Promise

Educating girls since 1772, Salem Academy fosters compassionate and creative leaders, prepared for college and life, who chart their paths with character, curiosity, and courage.

Highlights from History

Single Sisters: In its early years, Salem was led by the unmarried women of the Moravian community, known as the Single Sisters. These forward-thinking women were economically self-sufficient — rare for 18th-century women!

Diversity came early to Salem Academy and College. In the 1780s, Salem accepted its first enslaved African-American student; In 1826, it accepted its first Native American student, Sally Ridge.

College-level courses were added during the 1860s and in 1907, the school’s name was changed to Salem Academy and College

Read more about the history of Salem Academy and College; see our historical research, Salem Academy and College’s participation in Universities Studying Slavery, and more.

Latest News

Cherokee Commemoration

Thursday, November 17, 2022
On October 22, more than 30 descendants of Cherokee Moravian students, who attended Salem in the 19th century, came to campus for a celebration to commemorate their ancestors.

Today We Honor Those Who Served

Friday, November 11, 2022
To our Salem community members and loved ones who have selflessly served in our armed forces, we thank you and appreciate your sacrifice.

Junéja, Peck, Juran, Moulton and Zifchak Join Salem Academy and College

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Ranked No. 7 Private High School in North Carolina...